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A Troublesome Inheritance

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Genes, Race and Human History
Cover by : Nicholas Wade
    published :2014
subject :Nonfiction
keywords :Human evolution, Sociobiology, Race, Western civilization
size : 46.2 KiB in cover
547.1 KiB in 7 pictures
24.6 KiB in 208 footnotes
474.3 KiB in 950 paragraphs
~ 262 pages
143 downloads
added by : Shadilay (15 Feb 2017)
score : OffOffOffOffOffOffOffOffOffOff   0
 
 

Drawing on startling new evidence from the mapping of the genome, an explosive new account of the genetic basis of race and its role in the human story


Fewer ideas have been more toxic or harmful than the idea of the biological reality of race, and with it the idea that humans of different races are biologically different from one another. For this understandable reason, the idea has been banished from polite academic conversation. Arguing that race is more than just a social construct can get a scholar run out of town, or at least off campus, on a rail. Human evolution, the consensus view insists, ended in prehistory.

Inconveniently, as Nicholas Wade argues in A Troublesome Inheritance, the consensus view cannot be right. And in fact, we know that populations have changed in the past few thousand years—to be lactose tolerant, for example, and to survive at high altitudes. Race is not a bright-line distinction; by definition it means that the more human populations are kept apart, the more they evolve their own distinct traits under the selective pressure known as Darwinian evolution. For many thousands of years, most human populations stayed where they were and grew distinct, not just in outward appearance but in deeper senses as well.

Wade, the longtime journalist covering genetic advances for The New York Times, draws widely on the work of scientists who have made crucial breakthroughs in establishing the reality of recent human evolution. The most provocative claims in this book involve the genetic basis of human social habits. What we might call middle-class social traits—thrift, docility, nonviolence—have been slowly but surely inculcated genetically within agrarian societies, Wade argues. These “values” obviously had a strong cultural component, but Wade points to evidence that agrarian societies evolved away from hunter-gatherer societies in some crucial respects. Also controversial are his findings regarding the genetic basis of traits we associate with intelligence, such as literacy and numeracy, in certain ethnic populations, including the Chinese and Ashkenazi Jews.

Wade believes deeply in the fundamental equality of all human peoples. He also believes that science is best served by pursuing the truth without fear, and if his mission to arrive at a coherent summa of what the new genetic science does and does not tell us about race and human history leads straight into a minefield, then so be it. This will not be the last word on the subject, but it will begin a powerful and overdue conversation.

 
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Colophon
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Press (May 6th, 2014)
ISBN 978-0-698-16379-9
ISBN-13: 978-1594204463
ISBN-10: 1594204462
Contents

   1. EVOLUTION, RACE AND HISTORY
     The New View of Human Evolution
     The Social Science Creed and Evolution
     Genomics and Racial Differences
     Social Behavior and History
     Economic Disparities

   2. PERVERSIONS OF SCIENCE
     Classifying Human Races
     Social Darwinism and Eugenics

   3. ORIGINS OF HUMAN SOCIAL NATURE
     From Chimpanzee Society to Human Society
     The Distinctive Human Virtue: Cooperation
     The Hormone of Social Trust
     Control of Aggression
     How Societies Change to Fit Environment
     The Shaping of Human Social Behavior
     How Evolution Creates Different Societies

   4. THE HUMAN EXPERIMENT
     Evolution and Speciation
     The Peopling of the World
     Evolutionary Stresses
     A Three Way Split
     The Five Continental Races

   5. THE GENETICS OF RACE
     Races as Clusters of Variation
     Fingerprints of Selection in the Human Genome
     Hard Sweeps and Soft Sweeps
     The Genetic Structure of Race
     Arguments Against the Existence of Race

   6. SOCIETIES AND INSTITUTIONS
     The Great Transition
     From Village to Empire
     Human Behavior in History
     Effects on Social and Individual Behavior

   7. THE RECASTING OF HUMAN NATURE
     Evolutionary Changes in China
     The Long Arc of Domestication
     Tribal Societies
     The Escape from Tribalism and Poverty
     The Problem of Economic Development
     The IQ and Wealth Hypothesis
     Institutions and National Failure
     The Meso-Industrial Age

   8. JEWISH ADAPTATIONS
     Advantages of Literacy

   9. THE RISE OF THE WEST
     The Dynamism of the West
     Geographic Determinism
     How the West Arose
     Origins of Modern Science
     The Rewards of Openness
     The Adaptive Response to Different Societies

   10. EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVES ON RACE
     History as If Evolution Mattered
     Understanding Race

   ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
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